Why would an island nation import (and eat) so much spam? Alex DeLaricheliere (’14) examines childhood obesity in Palau as part of Summer Scholars program

by roanokecollege on September 11, 2013

Alex DeLaricheliere (’14) is a sociology major with an anthropology concentration. Alex’s Summer Scholars project was centered on ways to fight childhood obesity in the Republic of Palau, “a small island nation in the Western Pacific with childhood obesity rates over 30%.”

For her research she surveyed and interviewed parents and teachers at a K-8 school in Palau.

“I looked at the nutrition education programs and polices in place in Palau, and talked to parents and teachers about how they could be expanded or improved to help Palauan children and their families learn about the importance of nutrition and healthy eating habits.”

Her research was then used to make recommendations to the school in an effort to improve their programs and policies.

When reflecting back over the experience, Alex noted that

“Summer Scholars was an incredible opportunity for me because it taught me how challenging and rewarding conducting your own research can be. In graduate programs, most students come into it without experience in completing their own research from start to finish. I was able to see how all of the steps fit together, and work through it in a safe environment where I could seek advice and guidance. I also completed research that was used to really help people and address a serious global health concern, which is something not very many 21 year-olds can say!”

Alex DeLaricheliere and Dr. Chad Morris

Alex’s faculty mentor was Dr. Chad Morris who she stated was

“so understanding and worked with me, gave me helpful books and extra information, and helped me build a skillset that I will be able to use in college, grad school, and in my career.”

She also advises other students doing research with faculty to

“ask questions and be honest if you’re not quite sure how to go about doing something.”

Alex plans to apply to PhD programs in Applied Anthropology with a focus in nutrition and community health. Alex mentions that her

“research has really helped me shape my personal statement and my resume for those applications!”


Talk more with Alex and other student researchers at:

Family Weekend Showcase of Experiential Learning on Friday, September 27, 2013 6-8pm in Fintel Library

Roanoke College students from all disciplines will showcase their research, creative works and experiences from intensive learning travel courses.

The event kicks off with a social at 6 p.m. and a keynote speaker at 6:15 p.m. Students will stand at their posters at 6:45 p.m. Attendees should roam throughout Fintel Library and stop to talk to students.

Drop by the registration table for more information on experiential learning opportunities, such as internships, service-learning, study abroad, creative and artistic works and research.

Students, present at the showcase by submitting a short form.

Latest program information

Find more information about Roanoke College Research:


Previous post:

Next post: